Trip created by Craig Little
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If you’ve ever dreamt of participating in an ultra-distance ride or simply focused on an endurance challenge of a lifetime, 2020 could be the year. For 2 limited dates only, we’re offering the chance to ride 500 epic miles around the Scottish coast in the company of record-breaking round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont.
Over 4 incredible and unforgettable days you will cycle 500miles/800km and climb over 10,000m on some of the most spectacular roads and scenery in Europe. With one of the world’s most experienced endurance athletes at your side and unrivalled logistical support throughout, head north to the Highlands for the ride of your life.
Need a bike? See our bike hire page for details.
Mark Beaumont has become a household name through his documentaries about ultra endurance and adventure. Having smashed the circumnavigation cycling World Record twice in his career, he now holds this 18,000 mile title in a time of 78 days and 14 hours, averaging 240 miles a day. His epic documentaries have taken viewers to over 100 countries, into the Arctic, the high mountains and around the Commonwealth, also surviving capsize in the mid-Atlantic. Mark first pedalled the North Coast 500 in 2015, straight after coming home to Scotland after a 6000 mile race from Cairo to Cape Town. With those big miles in his legs, he completed the route non-stop in a record time of 37 hours.
Mark Beaumont and your Wilderness Scotland Guide will meet you late afternoon at our first overnight hotel in Inverness. Over drinks, we’ll run through logistics for the trip in detail and make sure everyone is set in terms of bike set up and personal gear. Enjoy dinner and a relaxed night for an early start to tomorrow. (D)
Load up at breakfast because our first day of riding sets the standard for the trip. An easy cruise on rolling roads out of Inverness takes us north to Garve before we strike west through increasingly mountainous country, reaching the west coast at Strathcarron. From this point on the riding is incredible. A short warm up climb prepares the legs for what lies ahead. The Bealach na Ba is the UK’s highest and toughest road climb and is reached after 72mi. With ramps of up to 20% you’ll be working all the way to the top where the most incredible view of the Scottish Islands and West Coast awaits. After an amazing descent, our work isn’t quite finished with some punchy climbing around the spectacular coastal road which eventually reaches the charming village of Shieldaig (B, L, D)
Ride details: 107mi/171km | 7,285ft/2207m of ascent | Approx 8h day inc breaks | Av 15mph/25kph
After our first big day you’ll surely be lifted by the magnificent scenery on day two. Today’s route winds it way through arguably the most spectacular landscape in the UK. Dramatic mountains rise like ancient giants providing an unforgettable backdrop to the riding. The camera as well as the legs will be working hard today. An early lunch in the fishing village of Gairloch offers an opportunity to recharge before we continue around the challenging coastal road. We pass through the town of Ullapool before climbing into the hills and riding some amazing roads through the mountains of Assynt to finish our day in the fishing village of Lochinver (B, L, D)
Ride details: 126mi/201km | 9,407ft/2868m of ascent | Approx 9h day inc breaks | Av 15mph/25kph
Another epic day in the Highlands with nearly 3000m of climbing. The reward is some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll find in Europe on some simply brilliant roads. The first 22 miles of the day almost defy description. A looping ribbon of tarmac climbs and descends for over 3300ft/1000m which may be like no road you have even ridden before! We’ll recharge by the iconic bridge in Kylesku before continuing our ride north and then east close to the Atlantic shore. We’ll pass some super beaches on this unspoilt section of rugged coast before arriving at the sands of Melvich where we will overnight. (B, L, D)
Ride details: 115mi/184km | 9,643ft/2940m of ascent | Approx 9.5h day inc breaks | Av 15mph/25kph
Our final day is a monster – over 160mi through the wild and wide open spaces of the North of Scotland. Our route starts on largely deserted roads through the “Flow Country”. We exchange wild coast for wild moorland and traverse a remote and isolated valley to cross the west-east watershed. Here we climb through an even more wild and beautiful glen before descending to the East Coast. Upon hitting the coast we have “only” 100 miles left to the finish. There is still some climbing to be done but by the time we hit the Black Isle, Inverness is nearly in sight and we’ll be rolling on mostly flat roads. Crossing the Moray Firth, victory is in sight and we’ll finish were we began, right on the esplanade of Inverness Castle. Muster up your final reserves of energy for a celebratory dinner in Inverness. (B, L, D)
Ride details: 161mi/257km | 8,125ft/2477m of ascent | Approx 11h day inc breaks | Av 15mph/25kph
After the conclusion of our epic journey, take it easy this morning over a relaxed breakfast before packing up the bikes and saying farewell to the Highlands. We can drop you at the railway station or airport in Inverness. Alternatively stay on in the Highlands for some recovery time – ebikes are available to get from the hot tub to the bar! (B)
On this trip, we use high quality 3-4* small hotels with a reputation for a warm welcome and, where possible, facilities that are welcome by cyclists.
There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you request a double room for single occupancy, a supplement will be payable.
Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis.
Obviously on a challenge of this type, nutrition and hydration is critical. All meals, non-alcoholic drinks and ride nutrition are taken care of and included in the price. We will eat dinner as a group and plan to dine in the hotels where we are staying for convenience at the end of a long day. Each of the accommodations includes breakfast with a wide range of choices.
Lunches are taken on the road in the form of a rolling picnic or a cafe/pub depending upon the weather and location. We also take care of your additional nutrition requirements and provide energy snacks and drinks on demand.
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|4th May - 9th May 2020||12 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£2,500||Book Now|
|31st Aug - 5th Sep 2020||12 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£2,500||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
Craig has over 12 years experience in delivering travel experiences and events of exceptional quality across Scotland. As one of the longest serving members of the Wilderness Scotland team, Craig’s speciality is in road cycling and mountain biking. His expertise and innovation helped create the Road Cycling Guide Award which helps all our guiding team deliver excellence on our trips.
- Craig LittleAsk Craig a Question
Red Graded Road Cycling Holidays 7-9
Red graded trips are suitable only for fit and experienced riders who love cycling and enjoy the challenge of longer days in the saddle, riding for consecutive days.
Distances range from 40 – 70 miles each day, cycling at roughly 12mph. We will ride variety of terrain from rolling countryside to hilly and mountainous areas. Most days will be challenging and the trip will include some of the more testing climbs in Scotland including high mountain passes. These harder climbs are rewarded with fast and exciting descents. We will often be in the saddle for 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches plus visits to some sites of interest.